But, given the massive disparity in power and experience between the hero and heroine in The Windflower, I appreciated this acknowledgement of future growth. skin of his naked back that she shudderingly realised had been inflicted with a whip.” Me: Okay, pederasty not my thing, but since Merry is, like, 12 I guess I can go with this tigerish, deliciously abused young man. The amazing intricacies of Devon’s character are constantly exposited but never actually demonstrated, unless you count his wavering commitment to raping the heroine.Of course, it does also mean that we’re stuck with Rainbow at a time in her life when even the book admits her only remotely redeeming quality is that she’s easy on the eye. She spends most of her time being vulnerable, threatened and literally naked – and I was quite confused about how I was supposed to be responding to her. To Devon’s credit, he manages to restrain himself on this score but I honestly found the attitude to, well, rape a bit odd. I mean, I know I’m not stranded on a pirate ship, and I know pirates are not renowned for their polite ways and moral rectitude, but it seems to be less of an ethical qualm for Devon than the fact he’s genuinely unable to control his manly raping urge. Raping someone is not a natural progression from fancying them. His attitude to Rainbow is, in general, a bit strange.
One of the (probably quite obvious) ideas I am coming slowly towards is that the romance we see on the page has to function successfully as microcosmic representation of a potential lifetime in order to make the HEA plausible to me. If Johnny Depp isn’t the hero, and Jailbait Sephiroth isn’t the hero either, who does that leave? He’s not devoid of self-irony, and full of cute, wry observations about why it’s not good practice to rape women when they’re suffering from seasickness, and he actually goes around dressed like he’s a pirate at a fancy dress party, which I personally found hilarious and endearing: r has some of the most bewilderingly written, err, erotic scenes I think I’ve ever read.
I think The Windflower has been the only book I’ve read so far to address that idea directly. I know I keep saying I don’t like to pick things apart at the sentence level and I’ve proceeded to do precisely that two weeks in a row but … Look, I’m not really criticising here, I have no idea how it would feel to be kissed senseless against my will by a lavishly beautiful pirate dude (though feel free to apply at this address) but what does any of this mean? And what has that got to do with the sweet and vivid light beams? Is that a euphemism for what Anna Steele prefers to call merely down there?
Rainbow, who has already entangled herself with the colonists’ cause, ends up being randomly captured by pirates from the cabin of a dude against whom Devoncakes just happens to have a personal vendetta. And, frankly, that’s all I can be bothered to say about Rainbow and Devoncakes because they are pretty much the least interesting bit of The Windflower. I was quite frustrated by it a lot of the time, often laughing at it, which is never a good sign, and pretty much permanently poised on the brink of throwing it out the window. Truthfully, I laughed with it, just as much as I laughed at it and, even though it drove me crazy, there’s no denying I was completely invested in it. It’s written with such a genuine sense of delight, it’s hard not to feel delighted back. just beyond me, somehow, so I gave up and went with it, and let my tingling cells dissolve into a spinning liquid miscellany of being quite entertained.
Then everything becomes about Merry: she makes a few infuriatingly inept escape attempts, most of which result in her looking vulnerable and being naked, eventually gets stranded on a desert island, then she gets Malaria and it eventually transpires that she was being taken to England in the first place in order to marry some Duke who is none other than … Despite the fact The Windflower is, frankly, batshit to say nothing of absolutely covered in kittens and sparkles and rape, it’s also kind of … And then there was Cat, who stole the book and – uh – kind of my heart as well.
But considering she is presented, and seen by pretty much everyone, as a sexual object I found it personally unappealing.
I’m honestly not that into eighteen year olds in general (nothing against them, by the way, it’s just, given I am not eighteen, it’s on the borderline of not okay) but eighteen year olds who act like they’re fourteen? But I do recognise The Windflower is essentially a bildungsroman for Rainbow, and the novel makes it quite explicit that the book shows us only one segment of a much greater arc: At age eighteen Merry Wilding was not so talented.
Most men would have been happy to stare at her by the hour; only the kind ones would be equally content to listen to her talk; that would come later in life.
Maybe I’m letting the side down, but I genuinely can’t imagine a situation in which I’d be happy to spend hours ogling a woman if I wasn’t also happy to talk to her. That said, I think I kinda liked this little paragraph. Me: Okay, look, to be fair to Devoncakes, he’s not that bad.
Not liking it would have felt like spitting in the eye of a kitten.
The heroine of The Windflower is, I shit you not, one Merry Wilding (yes, that is actually her actual name, but I personally prefer to think of her as Rainbow Sparkles).
But, then again, I’m not entirely sure whether that’s really a good thing. Under the press of his body, Merry ached in colors … The world was a collection of sweet and vivid light beams, and she was one of them, and mindless, a spinning miscellany of liquid cells. Oh, come back Brandon Birmingham and your carnivorous purple flowers, your internal coherence is greatly missed.